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Scott Pianowski

Monday Brunch: Tony Romo and the Ewing Theory

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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Here's what's on the mind and on the notebook as we digest the first glorious batch of games.

Bill Simmons gave us the intriguing Ewing Theory many moons ago – and for this year's Dallas Cowboys offense, let's call it the J.R. Ewing Theory. Tony Romo(notes) would never admit it but he sure looks liberated now that he doesn't have to force 10-12 passes every week in the direction of a slipping Terrell Owens(notes). There's so much to like about Romo's push off in Tampa on Sunday: 14 of his 16 completions went to receivers and tight ends, the touchdowns went to three different players, no one had more than five catches. I think people forget just how dynamic a player Romo can be (he's got a 95.7 QB rating and 8.2 YPA for his career).

I have no affiliation to NBC but two things are obvious to me: Cris Collinsworth is the best in-game analyst by far these days, and NBC's game production blows everyone else's away. In a lot of ways, Sunday night is the new Monday night.

Brady Quinn(notes) couldn't get the ball to Braylon Edwards(notes) in the opener and he couldn't do it last year, either. Quinn doesn't have a big arm and he's never thrown a pretty deep ball. Derek Anderson(notes) might not be the better player here, but he'd certainly be better for Edwards.

Chris Henry lights up the preseason and then sees two targets on game day. Enjoy your seven points, Cincinnati Bengals.

Ask anyone who's ever fractured a rib – there's zero chance Donovan McNabb(notes) plays in Week 2.

Every Willie Parker(notes) carry Thursday was a gift to the Titans; he looked slow, tentative. Mewelde Moore(notes) is someone that scares teams, and he's a dynamite fit for the spread offense, in part because his pass blocking has improved so much.

Leon Washington(notes) isn't a scatback or a specialty player; the well-kept secret with him is that he can run the entire playbook, inside and out. He's thick enough to be hit 12-15 times a game, no question. He's probably going to be flex worthy all season.

It's nice to invest in the New Orleans passing game but realize up front what this offense is about – throwing to favorable matchups and the open guy. Drew Brees(notes) and Sean Payton aren't going to force heavy targets to anyone. It won't surprise me at all if Marques Colston(notes) owners take a minor loss in 2009.

With Jake Delhomme(notes) doing his deer in the headlights thing, Steve Smith owners can skip "worried" and proceed directly to "paranoid."

For all of the Brandon Marshall(notes) buzz and scroll, people forget that he drops a lot of passes (a few more in Cincinnati on Sunday). Does he look like a completely focused player to you, at any time? No great shock that Mike Shanahan was ready to cut Marshall after the 2008 season (before the coach got whacked himself).

It's ridiculous that I waited so long to get HD in my viewing room. You're not even watching the same game anymore.

Remember how the Browns crash-landed last season and we were stuck watching them constantly in prime time? I have this nasty feeling Miami is going to be that team this year. We'll discuss next Monday while Peyton Manning(notes) is filleting the Dolphins.

I expected absolutely nothing from Cadillac Williams in his opener but I'm happy to be wrong. He looked terrific to me, quick, decisive, powerful. Of course that's the worst thing for fantasy owners, now we have to spin the wheel and cut the production up three ways.

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For one week, Ray Rice(notes) was who we thought he was – a dynamic guy between the 20s who took a back seat to Willis McGahee(notes) near the scoring stripe (though Rice just missed a TD run in the second half). Le'Ron McClain(notes) is going to get his touches too. Rice might be ready to collect 1300-1500 total yards, but I can't see how he'll score more than 5-6 times unless other people get hurt.

Matt Ryan(notes) is often mentioned as the player teams would take No. 1 if the entire league redrafted right now, but by the end of 2009, Joe Flacco(notes) will be in that argument as well. He looked like an 8-year vet during crunch time Sunday.

Marc Bulger(notes) doesn't throw those ugly picks like Delhomme does, but otherwise they're the same guy right now, deer-in-the-headlights, ducking constantly in the pocket. (Did Will Carroll really pick the Rams to go to the Super Bowl this year?)

It was curious to see the Ravens and Saints push for extra touchdowns that weren't needed in the final minute of their wins (KC's non-cover was a stomach puncher all the way). Reggie Bush(notes) had a late touchdown wiped out by a penalty.

Antonio Bryant(notes) was wide open downfield on several occasions against Dallas but Byron Leftwich(notes) isn't exactly a timing-and-anticipation passer; the deliveries came late, short, or not at all. Bryant wasn't able to finish the game, hobbling off the field with a gimpy knee.

Not every interception is the fault of the quarterback but I don't see how anyone can defend what Jay Cutler(notes) gave us Sunday night. Good luck with Blitzburgh next week, son.

The explosion of tight end production is ridiculous this year. There are 3-5 good options on anyone's waiver wire right now but it's not like anyone really needs a tight end.

I'm not overreacting to Detroit's messy start. This won't be the only time all year the Saints make a defense look horrible. Matthew Stafford(notes) made his share of spotty throws but he also stuck a few impressive ones. The early-season schedule is a nightmare, but I still see a plucky 4-12 or 5-11 team at the end of it all. And it's going to get a lot better for Kevin Smith(notes), too.

The Niners defense had a great game plan to make Kurt Warner(notes) uncomfortable; while the ultimate goal is to hit, sack or hurry the quarterback, sometimes taking away his functional pocket space is enough. All of those Warner check downs to Tim Hightower(notes) are a nod to the job San Francisco did.

LenDale White(notes) dropped all that weight but he didn't play any different on my screen.

Jason Campbell's(notes) pocket awareness remains on back order, and you don't inspire a lot of confidence when you try to throw a pass after running three yards past the line of scrimmage. Malcolm Kelly's(notes) starting gig didn't amount to anything – just one target.

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